June 11-16, 2023

Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA

Speaker and Poster Presenter - Isabell Moyer

Isabell Moyer, Museum Studies Researcher

Visualization of Multispectral Imagery for Cultural Heritage Exploration

During ancient times, parchment was a valuable commodity that was often reused by scraping off the ink and rewriting over it. Years ago, this discarded text would have been considered “lost,” but with the use of multispectral imaging, we can now use light in the infrared, visible, and ultraviolet to generate false color images that the user can manipulate to uncover the once lost text. In 2020, the Rochester Institute of Technology received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (PR-268783-20) to develop a low-cost, portable imaging system with a processing software that could be utilized by scholars accessing collections in library, archive, and museum settings. The R-CHIVE (Rochester Cultural Heritage Imaging Visualization and Education) processing software is a platform that allows the user to manipulate multispectral images taken to separate the overtext, from the undertext, from the background to create a visualization that allows scholars to be able to read the faded or erased text. By processing the images in the R-CHIVE software, the user can find the highest contrast between the visible text (the overtext), and the unreadable or unseen text (the undertext), and the medium itself to create a readable image that allows the user to read the undertext. The user can do this by creating a data cube that has one dimension in the spectral dimension and two spatial dimensions and by overlaying three images on top of each other to create a false color image of the manuscript or conduct further analyses with the bands through principal component analysis (PCA). Further manipulation can be done to the image by adjusting the hue, saturation, brightness and threshold. These features can enhance the contrast of the false color image to create a readable visualization. Results of the processing can be exported into multiple formats.

Identifying Multispectral Imaging Wavelengths to Create “Recipes” for Analysis of Non-Visible Information on Parchment and Paper (Poster)

Multispectral imaging (MSI) is an established cultural heritage technique for determining material identification and revealing non-visible information such as underdrawings and erased or faded text. While this technology has had limited access, a low-cost, end-to-end, portable system was developed by RIT’s Imaging Science and Museum Studies Programs through a National Endowment of the Humanities grant (PR-268783-20), Multispectral Imaging System for Historical Artifacts (MISHA). This system examined 200+ items (primarily parchment and paper); the data regarding capture and processing can now be analyzed. This talk outlines the data analysis progress of which wavelengths provided optimal results revealing non-visible information depending on the item’s various factors (condition, age, and so on). The results will form a “recipe book" for MISHA users, and other MSI systems, providing guidance on wavelength selection and processing techniques, derived from visual assessment and computational analysis of the MISHA dataset. From this research these are possible impacts: improving MSI practices for cultural heritage professionals who do not have an imaging background and shortening an item’s exposure/handling time.


Isabell Moyer is a 3rd year student in the Museum Studies program at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She has been a NEH intern since June of 2022.

The Inter-Society Color Council advances the knowledge of color as it relates to art, science, industry and design.
Each of these fields enriches the others, furthering the general objective of color education.


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